Sports Betting to Open Officially in Rhode Island

Sunset at Castle Hill Lighthouse on Newport, Rhode Island

After numerous delays, Rhode Island’s first legal sportsbook will finally open November 26, making it the first state in New England to have legal sports betting.

That will be of great help in getting the offering off the ground because people from neighboring states will cross the border to place their sports bets.

The first establishment to open a sportsbook will be the Twin River Casino in Lincoln.

Details of the opening day

The sportsbooks will open in the afternoon of November 26, and several dignitaries will be there to mark the occasion. Among them will be Senate President Dominic Ruggerio and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, both of whom will be placing the first bets at the casino. Joining them to make this ceremonial bet will be the Twin River Worldwide Holding’s executive chairman, John Taylor.

Ruggerio said about the launch: “Sports gaming provides the state with revenue that offsets reliance on taxes to support essential state services, such as education and fixing roads and bridges.”

Originally, legal sportsbooks were to be open by October 1, but there were several delays. The offering at the Twin River Casino is still only a temporary one, effectively just a betting window.

The casino plans to develop a state-of-the-art sports betting lounge starting in December. The lounge will have multiple screens to watch sports events, as well as bar and restaurant area where bettors can relax.

Road to legalization

People in New England are very passionate when it comes to sports. The region is made up of six states: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Rhode Island hopes to capitalize on being the only one of these states to have legal sports betting so far, despite being the smallest state in the country in area. The state has long embraced gambling, having begun its lottery in the 1970s, which has helped to fund many great projects.

The state’s residents have long been fans of horse racing, and Rhode Island’s two racetracks also have numerous slot machines to help bring in more revenue so they can keep their doors open. Casino legalization came in 2012, but online casino games are still not legal. At the moment, two casinos are operating in Rhode Island.

Sports betting became legal on June 20. There has been a lot of criticism of the hefty tax on the activity. There is a gross revenue tax of 51% on sports betting. The vendor will get 32% of the revenue and the remaining 17% will go to the casino itself.

The state was budgeting for tax revenue of more than $32m (£24.8m) for the first year of business. However, because the launch has been delayed, analysts believe this figure will now be closer to $12m (£16.3m). One of the key reasons for the difference is that the opening comes well after the start of the NFL and college football seasons.

What will the sportsbook look like?

The Rhode Island Lottery, which chose the partners to operate the sportsbooks, will be the chief regulator for sports betting in the state.

Rhode Island casinos are partnering with the International Game Technology (IGT) company to operate the gaming platform. They are also working closely with William Hill, which is in charge of the operations and the risk management systems.

The parties will work together for at least the next five years. There is a provision to extend this deal to an additional two five-year terms.

The Tiverton Casino is aiming for a December start date. Both casinos have the same owner, so they will dominate the Rhode Island market in the beginning stages of legalization.

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